- Written by webmin
It always makes us feel a bit meta when we get a chance to peek back in time and see how people regarded their past 30, 40, 50 years ago. Historians hadn’t had as long to stew about their topics, but on the other hand, they were much more proximate to the things they were studying. Today’s journey in metahistory comes to us from frequent contributor Gene Herman, who writes:
I wonder how many people in the hobby can trace their interest in old cars to a specific moment in time and have a photographic record of it to boot?
In the Spring of 1959, I was just short of nine years old, and my Dad took my brother and me to the New York International Auto Show. That year, Henry Austin Clark, Jr. brought a whole bunch of real early stuff from his museum in Southampton on Long Island to exhibit at the show. In conjunction with the exhibition, Fifth Avenue was closed for a few hours one Sunday and a large number of cars were paraded along that famous thoroughfare, complete with drivers and passengers in period costume. There was even a staged “drag race” if my memory serves, seen in images #11 and 12. These are pix from that event, shot with an old plastic off brand (non-Kodak) snap shooter for that full “vintage effect.”
Pic #1 shows two little future car nuts in the making. That’s me on the left and my brother on the right. He’s 2 1/2 years older than me. I’ve identified as many as I can to the best of my ability, and would invite readers to chime in on those that I haven’t.
Note the fellow in pic #8 communicating with the occupants of the car using a megaphone!
Pics# 13 and 14 show a big touring car negotiating New York traffic after the street was re-opened to traffic. I imagine a few of the cabbies were a bit impatient by that point!
And lastly, pic #15 is a shot of the first Bugatti that I had ever seen or heard of. It was not a participant in the event (too new!) and was just parked on a side street! Probably belonged to an enthusiast who had come to watch the parade.
Anyhoo, this was the day that I got bit by the bug, now more than 50 years ago, and the infection shows no sign of going away any time soon.